Mysterious figure

CAR-Russia: Who is Vitali Perfilev, Wagner’s boss in Bangui?

By Mathieu Olivier

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Posted on April 7, 2022 06:50

Vitali Perfilev had long remained in the shadows. In Bangui, some people remember him from the middle of 2019. He was then just another mercenary, one of the Wagner group’s leaders in the Central African Republic (CAR), dividing his time between Bangui and Berengo, the former imperial residence where the Russians set up their command and training base.

But Perfilev was working under a more prominent man named Valeri Zakharov, who at the time was advising President Faustin-Archange Touadéra on security matters.

Since then, Perfilev has risen to prominence. While Zakharov has gradually distanced himself from Bangui, Perfilev has risen in rank, becoming the right-hand man for the CAR of Dmitri Utkin, Wagner’s operational chief. In December 2020, when the country’s armed groups went on the offensive, he was the main military commander charged with defending Bangui and then of the Russian-Central African counter-attack aimed at opening up the capital. According to our information, Perfilev is now an official advisor to Touadéra, just like Zakharov before him.

Former member of the French Foreign Legion

Born in Russia, Perfilev spent part of his career in the French Foreign Legion, a fact that has embarrassed Paris – Moscow’s rival – to no

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